Building Resilience Back in the Bovey

This August saw the return of Plantlife’s Building Resilience in the South-West project to Bovey Valley woods. In partnership with the Woodland Trust and Natural England, this National Lottery Heritage Fund funded project has seen the valleys historic field boundaries surveyed and managed, to increase their habitat value for the many rare lichen species they support. In previous years, the surveys have been carried out with the help of citizen science volunteers from the local community, gathering data on lightRead more

TIMBER! Tells a Story

On a rare dry Dartmoor day, the Timber! celebration took place, once again, at Pullabrook Wood in the Bovey Valley. As before, it was hosted by the Woodland Trust and Natural England but, this year, recent storms and floods have left the woods feeling a bit damp, though a healthy turn out of visitors got together to enjoy and learn about the conservation management of the Bovey Valley Woods. Restoration of plantation woodlands is a complicated process and this specialRead more

Dozing Dormice (Part 2)

In our earlier Dozing Dormouse blog (Part 1) we explored the usual routes to monitoring dormice either through licensed surveying or through signs of presence – from long empty summer nests – to discarded dormouse dinners of gnawed nuts.  National Nature Reserves (NNRs) were set up to both protect habitats, species and geology and to be outdoor laboratories.  Science and research continue to be a core objective as part of today’s NNR conservation strategy and therefore dormice have been the focusRead more

Dormice Dozing (Part 1)

Whilst the trees in the woods appear to be standing still, waiting for spring to arrive, buried within the leaf litter one of our most iconic native mammals has also put its life on hold, until spring arrives. The size of a thumb, our native hazel dormouse, Muscardinus avellanarius, is a mostly arboreal woodland species that hibernates at ground level in a nest made from local materials during the winter months. Photoperiod – the ratio of light to dark inRead more

New Year: A Reflection On Changes

It’s a new year, with new plans and resolutions, the time of year where we think about changes we can make to ensure this year is the best one yet. Holly and ivy, evergreen plants, are symbols of new life, said by some to offer protection from entities that may wish us harm going into this new year.  In their natural woodland home, they play other more complex roles. You may have noticed, that they too have been impacted byRead more

Counting Butterflies in the Bovey Valley

As we come to the end of the year, and with the butterfly survey season well behind us, there’s a chance to reflect on the survey season and to plan for next year.  Simon Smith, who has written this end of season report, is one of six recorders who walks a set route, or “transect”, in the National Nature Reserve every week from April to the end of September.  In this blog he gives a personal account of the endRead more